Vernon RCMP say people should stay vigilant when it comes to scams and fraud

Beware of the scammers

Victoria Femia

Scams may not be something you think about in your day-to-day life, but it is something that police say you should always be aware of.

“We want people to be looking out for scams or frauds at all times, the public needs to remain vigilant at all times,” says Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Const. Chris Terleski.

Throughout the year, the RCMP see different types of scams take place reflecting that time of year.

For example, Terleski said in the holiday season they see more people shopping online using their credit card and personal information, prompting scammers to try to use that information for identity fraud or to swindle money from people.

Through the months of August and September, closer to back to school time when people are moving for university, Terleski said they may see an increase in rental frauds.

During tax season, February to March, scammers may pose as Revenue Canada calling residents for their Social Insurance number.

Two popular ways fraudsters communicate is by phone or through email and Terleski says scammers will get creative and sophisticated when trying to lure money out of people.

“We’ve seen some underlying or common themes to all frauds,” said Terleski.

“The first being, they’re going to represent or try to convince you that they’re from an organization you trust.”

He advised that, it could range from anyone such as the government, Canada Revenue Agency, or BC Hydro.

The Vernon RCMP recently received a report of a scammer posing as an officer from the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP, using their number.

“From there, they’re going to try to pressure you or provide you with a lure or something to keep you interested - once they have that, the next thing that’s going to happen is they are going to try to pressure you to act quickly,” said Terleski.

“Scammers and fraudsters don’t want you to take the time to think about it… they’re going to pressure you to act quickly and make an uninformed decision.”

The most common ways the scammers will attempt to get money from you is through untraceable methods of payment, such as gift cards and cryptocurrency.

If someone falls victim to a scam and loses money, Terleski says to contact police immediately.

Ways to avoid being taken advantage of include being wary of any unsolicited phone calls or emails.

“If you didn’t initiate the call or the email or the contact, you don’t actually know who you’re talking to… it’s always good to verify that, contact the company directly,” said Terleski.

He emphasized that people should never provide any personal and financial information over the phone unless you’ve contacted and verified that information.

“If you suspect it’s a scam or fraud, hang up.”

Terleski also noted to avoid using public wifi to do any online banking, as it can be tracked.

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